Google would really like us to think about its messaging technique as a piece in development. What it’s progressing against, I don’t know. Among all of the adjustments, additions, mergers, and rebranding its collection of messaging apps have long gone via during the last few years, Google has completed little to simplify or streamline its technique. And with the newest strikes, we could have fewer apps than ever, however the message hasn’t ever been extra muddled.
In a weblog put up Wednesday evening, Google showed rumors that vintage Hangouts and Allo are going away, which comes as no marvel. Google already introduced that Hangouts can be splitting into two new apps, Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, and Allo has been “on pause” since April as Google re-evaluated the aim of the two-year-old app. However with much less comes extra confusion. 8 months later, we’ve a brand new Allo-less technique that’s no clearer than it was once when the app introduced in 2016.
Were given the message?
The truth of it’s that Allo was once just about doomed from the beginning. It’s now not that it was once a nasty app or perhaps a dangerous thought, however the majority of Android customers both didn’t know or didn’t care that it existed. Even supposing it hadn’t been a superfluous addition to the various default Android messaging apps, a raft of privateness problems, confusion, compatibility, and value problems saved it from turning into all it may well be. Alternatively, it’s now not concerned about naught. Google has progressively been operating maximum of Allo’s easiest options into Android Messages, so the spirit of of the carrier continues to be alive.
Whilst Allo’s loss of life—formally set for March 2019—has been slightly fast, Hangouts has long gone via extra iterations than I will be able to record right here. What began as a wise aggregate of Google Voice and Google+’s messaging ambitions, Hangouts was once meant to be without equal position to, neatly, hang around. Like iMessage, Hangouts used a proprietary protocol to permit non-SMS speedy messaging, and over numerous updates, it added and/or got rid of quite a lot of options, together with workforce video chats, voice calls, publicizes, and texts.
In case you don’t perceive or take note any of that, don’t fear, it’s just about all going away. Google new technique is composed of simply 4 apps now:
- Hangouts Meet
- Hangouts Chat
However what’s meant to be a transfer “towards a more effective communications enjoy” is the rest however. Right here’s how the brand new lineup breaks down now:
Messages is mainly the brand new Allo (learn: stickers and GIFs) with out the Google Assistant integration and speedy messaging features, a.okay.a. the 2 options that in reality made Allo value the use of. Duo is for one-on-one video calls. Hangouts Meet could also be for video calls, however geared at teams and conferences. Hangouts Chat is for Slack-style speedy messaging.
However wait, there’s extra: Chat could also be what Google calls the RCS portion of Messages—the protocol this is meant to ship iMessage-style non-SMS messaging—however it will or would possibly not paintings together with your service or telephone. Hangouts Chat can’t ship SMS messages. Regardless of the identify, the lead Duo engineer promised group calling previous this 12 months and dives into the code recommend Google is certainly operating on it. And whilst Hangouts Chat is restricted to G Suite enterprise consumers these days, “sooner or later” it’s going to be to be had to former Hangouts customers. And naturally, vintage Hangouts will nonetheless paintings for then again lengthy Google looks like supporting it.
So even supposing you disregard the truth that the apps that sound like they’re a pre-millennial social community are in reality for pros, you’ve nonetheless were given two pairs of apps that mainly do the similar factor. (Or perhaps 3, since we haven’t any concept how or if Google Voice—which additionally does calls and texts however now not video calls—suits into all this.)
Too many transferring portions
While you dive into the combination with Google’s different products and services, it devolves even additional. When you choose an individual into Contacts, the choices for texting and video calling are Messages and Duo, respectively, however in Gmail, “Hangout” is the primary messaging choice, which takes you to the vintage Hangouts app, assuming you’ve got it put in.
None of it’s transparent or logical. And I’m now not actually certain what Google is making an attempt to perform with this newest exchange. I’m on board with Allo being sunsetted, particularly since Google had mainly stopped paying any consideration to it, however why do enterprise apps and client apps want to be separate after they necessarily do the similar factor? And why does there want to be two of each and every app? Why now not combine the most productive portions of Duo, Messages, Allo, and Hangouts into one app, and concentrate on business-style verbal exchange in some other?
And maximum of all, why is Google leaving behind its personal speedy message carrier in Allo and Hangouts for a carrier-driven ball of misunderstanding in RCS? A decade in, one of the most easiest iPhone options continues to be the facility to immediately chat with different iPhone customers the use of iMessage regardless of the place you might be or what your connection is, one thing Hangouts and Allo had been meant to ship. Now, we’re mainly caught looking ahead to carriers. Or even of they do all get on board, you’ll nonetheless want the best telephone for it to paintings.
A easy repair
Whilst the weblog put up makes it look like that is the overall revision to its messaging technique, we all know higher than to consider that. There are nonetheless seven separate Google apps for messaging, no less than considered one of which will likely be close down this time subsequent 12 months. And even supposing Google does achieve whittling them all the way down to 4, the place does that go away us? Right here’s my resolution:
1. Make Messages the hub. Google’s Android texting app is obviously the only app that gained’t be going any place, so make that the middle for all issues client. That incorporates IM, video calls, texts, and RCS chats. There needn’t be any delineation between apps and repair after I need to touch anyone. Simply open Messages at the telephone or the internet, faucet on a reputation, and get started typing. The device must be sensible sufficient to grasp what device the individual at the different finish has and make a choice the most productive one with none configuration wanted.
2. Rename Hangouts to Messages for Trade. If Google needs to stay a carrier tied to G Suite for enterprise consumers, Hangouts is the flawed logo. There’s an excessive amount of luggage hooked up to it, and but even so, it doesn’t actually sound like a qualified app. Messages for Trade doesn’t precisely roll off the tongue, however it’s transparent and assists in keeping with the Messages logo.
three. Unload Duo and Meet as separate apps. With tight integration with Messages and Messages for Trade, there needn’t be separate apps for video calling. Simply make Messages a one-stop store for all verbal exchange.
four. Do it subsequent 12 months. Google has a addiction of ready till other people get ok with a brand new app or carrier, then letting it languish for a couple of years, and in any case killing it. That’s most definitely what’s going to occur to the brand new Hangouts as soon as Google both will get tired of it or realizes that now not sufficient persons are the use of it. So make the exchange now.
In fact, none of this stuff will occur. Google will proceed to hold a number of messaging apps, and someday in 2020 there will likely be some other weblog put up explaining what the next move is and why this time it’s such a lot higher than earlier than. This is, if we don’t get a couple of new apps alongside the best way.